Search

Afrogallonism: Serge Attukwei Clottey turns Yellow Plastic Gallons into Artistic Concepts

Updated: Jul 3


Serge Attukwei Clottey, the creator of the concept agrogallonism makes use of yellow plastic gallon containers to explore migration and interactions between Ghana and the West. The containers are originally intended to store cooking oil that the West sells to Ghana, but end up being used for art.


When the containers are discarded, they typically end up as plastic waste, which is problematic because there aren't many recycling facilities in the area.


Serge-attukwei-clottey-Ghanaian-artist
Dr. Serge Attukwei Clottey

Serge Attukwei Clottey is the creator of Ghana's GoLokal. He aims to use art to change society through Afrogallonism. He has shown his work in many nations and describes it as "an artistic concept to analyze the relationship between the prevalence of the yellow oil barrels in respect to consumerism and necessity in the life of the modern African."


Afrogallonism-installed-in-the-new-premises-of-museum-Amhem
GBOR TSUI (Visitor’s heart), 2019 installed in the new premises of Museum Arnhem @museum.arnhem in the exhibition of the collection "Consume by", on view to January 2023. Credit: project art notes.

He is a Labadi-based man, from an area in the Accra suburb. Clottey began displaying his works in galleries around 2003. He was born in Accra in 1985. Ghanatta College of Art and Design in Accra is where he earned his education. He next relocated to Brazil, where he enrolled in the Minas Gerais' Guignard University of Art. He was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Art by the University of Brighton in 2019.


Serge Attukwei has been experimenting with the idea of Afrogallonism for the past seventeen years.

"My art, which makes use of yellow plastic gallon containers, explores migration and interactions between Ghana and the West," Clottey often says.

Afrogallonism-Street-art-exhibition-in-Ghana-Labadi
Afrogallonism Street art exhibition in Ghana Labadi.

When the yellow plastic containers are discarded, they often end up as plastic waste, which is problematic as there aren't recycling facilities in place yet. Through his art, they migrate through his profession by being used as an artistic medium for Serge's sculptures, which he then sells back to the West as works of art.


Clottey's main objective was to draw attention to topics like sanitation, politics, trade, and migration that affected modern communities.


The yellow gallon containers, which were first imported to Ghana as oil jerry cans, had become water-storage materials in virtually every home in my village because of the water issue, I discovered through my "Afrogallonism" project," Dr. Serge explains in an interview.

Installation-Food Forever-created-by-artist-Serge-Attukwei-Clottey-at-Simchowitz-Gallery-in-London
Installation "Food Forever" created by artist Serge Attukwei Clottey at Simchowitz Gallery in London.

As time passed, the gallons were thrown away carelessly, which caused a significant sanitary issue. So Serge Attukwei decided to try and solve the issue by gathering these discarded gallons and turning them into something else that may be applied to homes.


The gallons Serge uses are not African and that satisfies him. These gallons are brought into Africa from the West.


The-Wishing-Well-2021-Coachella-Valley-by-afrogallonism
"The Wishing Well" 2021 Coachella Valley by afrogallonism

However, by using creative methods, he can get past the object's constraints and alter its significance in a different context. It is not difficult to imagine that these objects, made of Western plastic and imported to developing countries in an ill-planned administrative effort, are then discarded and re-issued within a Western art space.


He changes their value and meaning if you picture them hanging, as they have, in several galleries from California to London.

2 comments